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Everyday narratives: CEO rhetoric on Twitter

Maria Grafström (Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden)
Lena Lid Falkman (The Stockholm School of Economics Institute for Research, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




This paper investigates the everyday CEO communication in social media, with particular focus on Twitter. The purpose of this paper is to contribute with insights into how expectations on corporate leaders to be present in social media are translated into everyday communication practice and thereby add to literature on narrative leadership.


A content analysis of the Twitter feed of Håkan Nygren, the CEO of the Swedish digital bank Nordnet. In order to answer the question – what are the stories and the rhetoric of a CEO in the banking sector an ordinary day? – the data set covers the totality of tweets by Nygren from 10 April 2013 to 31 December 2015.


The everyday Twitter narrative of Nyberg challenges established ideas of social media about personalised tone and interactions by highlighting three characteristics: limited scope of actors and content including the local Nordnet sphere, a formal tone in the tweets mainly based on corporate information and presentation, and few examples of dialogue and a limited number of voices outside of Nordnet. The data set of Nyberg’s Twitter feed during a period without any major events or crises for Nordnet paints a picture of a rather non-personal CEO with limited ideas on his mind to share online and with few friends.


Studies on social media and corporate communication have largely focussed on organisational crises. This study focuses on everyday narratives of managers and proves that the role of social media must be interpreted more broadly and as playing multiple roles, and that these roles are changing due to time and situation.



The authors are thankful to the Lars-Erik Lundberg Foundation for funding. Maria Grafström also would like to thank Tore Browaldh Foundation (Handelsbanken) for additional funding. This paper forms part of a special section. The rhetoric and narratives in management research.


Grafström, M. and Falkman, L.L. (2017), "Everyday narratives: CEO rhetoric on Twitter", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 312-322.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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